Really? ALL THINGS Without Grumbling? Really?

Digging-ditches copy

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Php 2:14-15

Are you kidding? All things? All things without grumbling?

You don’t know my boss. You don’t know the ridiculous burdens he straps on our backs every day. All things? You don’t know what a slob my husband is and how I have to constantly pick up after him. ?You don’t have to work in a cubicle next to Mr. “I’m wearing cologne you can smell in 3 states.”

All things without grumbling? Did Paul have a two-year-old? I don’t think so. Paul wouldn’t survive one morning at my house with my kids. He’d be revising Philippians by 10:30 a.m. ?Do all things without grumbling? I don’t think Paul had to pay the kind of taxes I have to pay. He didn’t have to jump through the hoops and forms I have to jump through and fill out.?

The “all things” Paul tells us to do without grumbling aren’t the fun things. ?Nobody grumbles about having to do something fun or pleasant. ?It’s the miserable things. ?The hard tasks. ?The unreasonable assignments. ?The ridiculous chore that you’ll just have to do again tomorrow anyway. ?The unexpected tasks. ?The interruptions. ?The things you’d rather not do. ?Cleaning up after that person. ?Serving that ungrateful customer.

Paul ? actually, God ? tells us we’re to do ALL things without grumbling or disputing. We may think this is impossible given where we work, our boss, our coworkers. ?As I wrote this I thought about Christians suffering for their faith in North Korean labor camps. Even there God requires his servants to do all things without grumbling or disputing. Wow. ?What grace that would take. ?We have it easy, yet how quickly we slide into complaining.

Why does God give us this command? Isn’t it enough to be morally pure? Isn’t it enough not to curse and punch holes in the wall when required to do something unpleasant? What’s so bad about complaining or grumbling a little bit? Everybody does it.

That’s just it ? everybody does it.

We complain about everything. We complain about the weather and the traffic and the government. We complain about being stuck working inside when the weather’s nice. We bellyache about our boss. About our co-workers. About the customers. We grumble about our teens and our toddlers. ?It’s our way of life.

That’s why God wants us to be different. He wants us to stand out against the dark backdrop of the world as his witnesses.

When we go about that ridiculous assignment cheerfully, we stand out as “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation”.??The world is watching us. The world wants to assure itself that Christians aren’t any different from them. ?If we act just like them, then our faith hasn’t done anything for us. It hasn’t changed us. ?Why should they cry out to a Savior if it doesn’t matter? Why should they repent and turn from sin?

Most unbelievers don’t commit adultery. Most don’t steal. Most are decent, upright citizens. But everyone complains. Everybody grumbles. So Paul says that when we do all things without grumbling we stand out. ?It demonstrates the reality of our faith. There’s nothing to accuse us of ? we’re blameless and innocent not only in God’s eyes but in the world’s eyes. ?We “shine as lights in the world” – ?we’re blazing beacons in a dark world. We’re powerful witnesses for Jesus.

How do we get there? The best way is by practicing thankfulness. Thank God for anything and everything. ?Thank him for your unreasonable boss. Thank him for that unpleasant assignment. For your co-worker and that cologne he wears that makes you gag.

Oh, by the way, don’t thank him for your co-worker’s cologne in the next cubicle out loud.


  • michaelandrzejewski says:

    Mark, I have a friend of mine who is a professional soccer player. A few years ago he was signed to a contract in order to be the starting goalie. The president of the club went over the coach's head and signed another goalie and inserted him into the lineup. From that point on, my friend was relegated to the 4th string, didn't dress out many games and was given very little practice time, let alone playing time. What's worse, they wouldn't release him without making him sign a release saying that he would accept 50% of his contracted salary. Long story short? He went out everyday and did his job just like he had been the starting goalie for years. Everybody noticed, including the president of the club. He had a tremendous testimony in the locker room and in the front office as well…for this sole reason. He did his job without murmuring or complaining, with a smile and a word of praise always on his lips. As a pastor, he blessed my heart more than he'll ever know. Thanks for the reminder.

  • cb4swife says:

    Thanks Mark for this reminder. Thanks also for painting the big picture of what a glorious witness it is to not grumble and complain.
    ~ Shannon :)

  • Elaine says:

    Great reminder, Mark, especially on laundry and ironing day!

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Wow, Michael ? what a great story. So encouraging. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks so much, Shannon!

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Elaine, I’ve never heard you complain ? But laundry and ironing would be a temptation for me…. Especially on a nice day when I’d rather do something else.

  • Billie says:

    You just have one day for laundry??! ;)

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Good one!

  • heidi says:

    And I've been studying Joseph's life this past couple of weeks. That man LIVED this principle and he did indeed shine as a light: as a slave, as a prisoner, and finally as lord of the land. May God grant to His people this same spirit, which was also the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, who even emptied Himself and gave Himself completely to obedience WITHOUT GRUMBLING OR COMPLAINING.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Amen, Heidi! Great comments!

  • Caroline says:

    Sadly the guy next to me at work does not put cologne:(

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Oh boy……

  • Chris says:

    Great post Stephen. However, can I suggest the answer to “how do we get there” doesn’t begin with thankfulness? I believe that Philippians 2 points us to what God has already done, is doing, and will do. Philippians 2:13 points out that God is working in us – any attempt to change our behavior that bypasses recognizing our dependence on the power of God in us is doomed to lead to failure, self-righteousness, or both. Secondly, verse 15 points to what God has already done – made us His children – that new identity already DOES define us before it compels us to live up to it. Being his children points to His new nature within that empowers us to live in the freedom (and thankfulness which you rightly point out) of not being conformed to the grumbling world we live in or our old nature. Finally, there is a hint of what is to come and where God is taking us that motivates us – the day of Christ (verse 16). Focusing on God’s final destination and our reward helps us endure the light and momentary afflictions Paul talks about – since something more glorious will swallow up all our suffering, inconveniences, and trials. All three of these verses and references scream gospel to me and help me believe it’s possible not to grumble in spite of my fallen nature and this fallen and disappointing world.
    I know you know these things as well as I do, and you usually do such a GREAT job of pointing us to the gospel. Just thought you could use the reminder to point us to the gospel before pointing us to how we should live – I so often need this reminder from others in how I parent and lead also! Really grateful for you Stephen and your wonderful gift of communication!

  • Lori Schneider says:

    Complaining can be such a bad habit. Okay, it is a bad habit! Thanks for the reminder!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>